Proposal for UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Day of General Discussion 2016
“The right of the child to a healthy environment”
| Terre des Hommes International Federation | 2015
Summary of Proposal
Environmental degradation, including harm from climate change, is one of the pressing human rights challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century. We are failing to safeguard the environment, and the result is that we are contributing to major violations of human rights to life, health, food, water, and housing, among others. Children suffer a disproportionate share of the burden, because they are still developing and are very vulnerable to environmental damage. They will also face the long-term consequences.
While the general nexus between human rights and the environment has received some attention recently, the role of a healthy environment in fulfilling the rights of children is less well-known than it should be. The interdependence between children’s rights and the environment may seem self-evident, but the CRC is often overlooked in the development and implementation of environmental policies. Practice shows that the contours of substantive and procedural duties relating to the environment urgently require clarification.
2015 is a seminal year for better integrating human rights and environmental protection under the overarching concept of sustainable development: In September, governments will gather to adopt a successor framework to the MDGs, thereby effectively determining development priorities until 2030. 2015 will also, perhaps, see an agreement on climate change. The provisions and principles of the CRC have a unique potential to inform and strengthen the implementation of both the new climate agreement and the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A Day of General Discussion can offer a platform of dialogue between relevant actors in order to foster a deeper understanding of the contents and implications of the Convention as they relate to the protection of the environment in the context of sustainable development and climate change.